In the adjacent property up the hill, live two donkeys called Dylan and Darwin. They are very well-behaved and love being fed apples and carrots.

Our neighbour also owns two very lovable dogs called Pebbles and Caspar. Pebbles is very friendly and goes on long walks with visitors (if invited). He loves being fed and petted. Caspar, though formidable looking, is very friendly once you get to know him.  He has an intense love for apple cores!

Clos des Manes is a paradise for bird-watchers, butterfly and moth enthusiasts and nature lovers of all kinds.

Within a 100 meters of the house, visitors have so far identified 70 different types of butterflies and more than 500 varieties of moths. Sightings of rare butterflies include the Apollo (Parnissius apollo), which is pictured on the right (and was photographed on a lavender bush on the terrace); Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra); Moroccan Orange-tip  (Anthocharis cardamines); and Spanish Purple Hairstreak (Laesopis roboris). Stand-out moth species include the Great Peacock Moth (Saturnia pyri); Tau Emperor (Aglia tau); and Clifton Nonpareil (Catocala fraxini).


Within the grounds of the house, bird-lovers regularly see Crested Tits, Nuthatches, Treecreepers, Hoopoes, Black Woodpeckers, Golden Orioles, and many different varieties of birds of prey and owls (including the Scops). During the summer of 2008 Egyptian Vultures nested nearby in the cliffs above Villefranche-de-Conflent.

Boars, red squirrels, foxes, badgers and various types of deer are frequent visitors to the grounds and woods and forests around the house.

In the nearby nature reserves of Py and Mantet (a half hour drive from the house) more than 90 species of birds breed, among them Lammergeiers, Golden and Bonelli’s Eagles, Red-billed and Alpine Choughs, Ptarmigans, Grey Partridge, etc., etc. The area is also an important migratory “bottleneck” and hundreds or thousands of Honey Buzzards, Bee-eaters and Cranes pass through in the spring and autumn.

Mammals to be seen around Py and Mantet include Isard, Genets, the occasional Lynx and the little-known Pyrenean Desman (an aquatic relative of the mole).

The area is also extremely rich in Pyrenean and southern flowers, including various Orchids, the Viscid and Entire-Leaved Primrose, Pyrenean Gentian and Sneezewort.

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Our friendly neighbourhood pets!